Community cleans up vandalism at WA

By Joseph McCain The Winston County Journal Glass was removed, carpets cleaned, and much more accomplished by hundreds of volunteers at Winston Academy after a recent break-in and vandalism. Students at Winston Academy on Tuesday, February 19 were greeted with a cleaned and mostly repaired campus yet signs of the vandalism still could be found. Hundreds of volunteers had turned out Sunday, Feb. 17 and Monday, Feb. 18 to help cleanup and make repairs to areas of the campus vandals had damaged. Police officers were greeted with a very different scene Saturday morning upon their arrival. Vandals had torn through 17 classrooms, the football field house, football press box, the gym, school bus and the school’s office. The vandals destroyed trophy cases, trophies, and windows. They sprayed fire extinguishers in the gym and in several of the classrooms. One of the vandals appeared to have received an injury in the melee as suggested by blood on the scene in at least two rooms. In all the vandals caused between $200,000 to $300,000 in damage and stole several items including a flatscreen tv, computers and cell phones. Moving quickly, law enforcement from Louisville Police Department and Winston County Sheriff’s Department were able to arrest two suspects within hours of the crime’s discovery. Vernon Brown, 20, and Hunter Glass, 18, have been charged and arraigned on felony malicious mischief charges and breaking and entering. Each vandalism charges can carry up to 5 years in prison and fines reaching $5,000. Each count of breaking and entering can carry a maximum of 7 years in jail. Both face 7 counts of breaking and entering and 10 counts of felony malicious mischief. A preliminary court date is set for the second week of March. Both are Winston County residents but neither had attended or was attending Winston Academy. In addition to blood evidence and several other items, law enforcement assessed the vandalism occurred around 1 a.m. since a clock in one room displayed 1:15 a.m. when it was smashed. Along with the hundreds who turned out to cleanup across the community on Sunday and Monday, others from in and out of the county have made offers to help get the school and teachers back to work and on track. “Everyone has been very supportive,” said Headmaster Farrell Rigby during the cleanup. Winston Academy has 511 students in attendance and was chartered by the state in 1969. Anyone wishing to donate to Winston Academy may contact the school or send a check to Louisville Winston Foundation at P.O. Box 545 Louisville Ms. 39339.